Carol in Texas asks:
My question concerns copyright legalities for Social Media. My agent client wants to post my photos various places, as she can legally do under my Terms and Conditions, so long as it is to market a property. The Agent client has a partnership with a local high-end home builder and also wishes to post my photos on said home builder's FB page as part of her marketing strategy for his homes. Agent client believes this should be ok since she has paid me for use of the photos. Where is the line between using the photos for her own marketing strategy and using the photos to benefit the builder? On the one hand, it seems to be within her rights to do this; however, the builder is going to benefit from her doing so by being able to use the FB page as a pseudo-portfolio gallery. WWYD?
In the case you describe where an agent represents a builder, the builder is the client (homeowner) so it certainly makes sense for here to use your photos to market the builders products.
Here are some considerations to consider to refine your license agreement:
- Builders are very special clients. I think it makes sense to charge agents that represent builders more for photo licensing because builder marketing is going to be much wider and extensive than marketing other property. When my wife represented a builder, we would use photos from a model home to sell the neighborhood for several years.
- Agents posting to FB is a different subject. Back in January, we talked about the fact that you loose control of your copyright when your photos are posted to FB and other social media sites because of the terms of service of most social media sites. This is a tough problem because agents expect to be able to post photos to FB and other social media. If you want to keep control of your photo rights you need to in some way restrict posting to social media. Perhaps just license exterior shots to be posted on social media or just some selection of photos from a shoot be posted to social media. Otherwise, you loose control.
So, I think you are correct to be concerned about both of these issues. What I would do, is charge more when builders are involved and restrict specifically which photos from a shoot can be posted to social media.